Video: Hybrid FDM/Inkjet Printer - Part Marking, Quick Release Supports and More
James Anderton posted on August 07, 2018 |

James Anderton: In polymer additive manufacturing, fused deposition modeling has been around for quite a long time, but it's not the only way to ‘skin that cat’. I'm with Julie Reece, VP of Marketing at Rize. Julie, you’re telling me this is not fused deposition modeling?

Julie Reece: No, it's not, this is completely different. Rize is bringing hybridization to additive manufacturing, very much in the same way that 3M brought hybridization to the paper industry with the post-it note.

What we're doing is a combination of material extrusion and material jetting. The goal is to change the user experience in additive manufacturing to make it much easier for the engineer to use at the point of consumption, where they work, and get it out of the lab. So, you'll see here we have a filament. This is our own compound of engineering and medical grade thermoplastic. It produces isotropic strength parts.

In addition, you'll see there's an inkjet printhead in our machine. The printhead is fed with two inks: we have one marking ink that produces very detailed part numbers and that sort of thing on parts—logos, all of that sort of thing. The other ink is a release agent between the part and the support material. With traditional FDM methods, removing the material supports is challenging. With this process you simply remove it. This is how easy it is. You can remove it at your desk. it's all safe and recyclable, there's no sanding or finishing. This enables you to finish parts faster without any of the additional costs or facility requirements required with traditional FDM post-processing.

JA: Now, you mentioned the ability to actually print part numbers or QR codes into the part. Digital rights management is a factor in digital manufacturing. Which part is this? What are the specifications or dimensions? Who owns the copyright? All this information can be embedded in the part.  

JR: That’s absolutely correct. So, what we're doing is we're embedding digital rights management into the part. It's totally secure, it can't be removed. What this is doing is creating a digital thread to the digital twin of the part on the customers platform, such as a PLM system. In a hospital setting for example, a QR code on a part could go back to all the patient's records. Traceability, compliance, authenticity are all factors addressed by this solution. Our goal is to tie additive manufacturing of the physical part to the digital ecosystem, and really starting to tie it into industrial data technologies of blockchain and so forth.

JA: Julie Reece says, Rize has a release agent that lets you separate your part from the supports, digital rights management embedded in the part, and augmented polymer deposition.

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